Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - ST 4445

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4445
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4445]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, September 3, 2011


On the whole, the puzzle did not seem overly difficult, but there are a few tricky clues. I needed Dave Perry to explain the wordplay at 22d where the name of the British middle distance runner does not ring a bell, although I do recall the other two members of the trio mentioned in the Wikipedia entry cited below.

Today's Glossary
Selected abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions appearing in today's puzzle.

[An asterisk beside an entry merely indicates that it has been taken it from a Cumulative Glossary of entries which have previously appeared, in either this blog or its companion blog, the National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum.]

Appearing in Clues

Meanings listed in this section may reflect how the word is used in the surface reading of the clue. Of course, that meaning may be contributing to the misdirection that the setter is attempting to create.

*leg - noun 5 (also leg side, on or on side) Cricket the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.  The opposite of off.

neat2 - noun archaic [a] a bovine animal. [b] [mass noun] cattle.

organ - noun 4 a newspaper or periodical which promotes the views of a political party or movement: he repositioned the journal as a leading organ of neoconservatism

pong - noun British informal a strong, unpleasant smell: corked wine has a powerful pong

Domenico Scarlatti - (1685 – 1757), Italian composer who today is known almost exclusively for his 555 keyboard sonatas mostly written for the harpsichord or the earliest pianofortes. According to Wikipedia, "[By 1709] Scarlatti was already an eminent harpsichordist: there is a story of a trial of skill with George Frideric Handel at the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome where he was judged possibly superior to Handel on that instrument, although inferior on the organ."

Appearing in Solutions

Steve Cram - British retired athlete. Along with fellow Britons Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett, he was one of the world's dominant middle distance runners during the 1980s.

crambo - noun a game in which a player gives a word or line of verse to which each of the other players must find a rhyme.

hook - noun 4 [2nd entry] Cricket a stroke made to the on side with a horizontal or slightly upward swing of the bat at shoulder height.
on - (also on side) noun Cricket the leg side (or, simply, leg) [see definition for leg in Appearing in Clues section above]
mock turtle soup - noun imitation turtle soup made from a calf’s head.

Edvard Munch - (1863–1944), Norwegian painter and engraver. He infused his subjects with an intense emotionalism, exploring the use of vivid colour and linear distortion to express feelings about life and death. Notable works: the Frieze of Life sequence, incorporating The Scream (1893).

Quentin Tarantino - American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

This commentary should be read in conjunction with the full review at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.

27a   Traditional dancing venue for a day? Stick with it! (7)

According to Wikipedia, a maypole is "a tall wooden pole erected as a part of various European folk festivals, particularly on May Day, or Pentecost (Whitsun) although in some countries it is instead erected at Midsummer. In some cases the maypole is a permanent feature that is only utilised during the festival, although in other cases it is erected specifically for the purpose before being taken down again." Since people traditionally dance around the maypole during these festivals, it is a "traditional dancing venue for a day" (in Britain, the festival seems to occur on a single day, May 1 or May Day). But what about the rest of the clue ("Stick with it!"). Well "stick" is certainly a reference to the maypole, and since the maypole is reputed by some to be a phallic symbol, the "it!" may be intended to mean "sex appeal". This would make the maypole a stick with sex appeal.
it1 - pronoun 8 (usually ‘it’) informal sexual intercourse or sex appeal
22d   Athlete's natural pong coming after game (6)

The definition is "game" and we are looking for CRAMBO (a game that I had never heard of). The wordplay is a charade of CRAM (athlete) and BO (pong). Steve Cram is a retired British middle distance runner and pong is British slang for an unpleasant smell - such as body odour (BO).

24d   Pirate's powerful shots to side of leg (5)

This is a double definition, with one definition being "pirate" for which the solution is HOOK, the pirate captain from Peter Pan. The second definition is "powerful shots to the side of the leg". Here "to the side of the leg" means the 'leg side' (also called the 'on side') of a cricket field. In cricket, a hook is a "powerful shot" to the "on side" (or "leg side") of the field.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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